For calling for an open and transparent bidding in the supply of train coaches to the Metro Rail Transit III (MRT 3), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) was able to save P3.348 billion for the government.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya made this observation in reaction to suggestions that the DOTC should have awarded the contract to supply MRT 3 with 48 coaches to the Czech Republic’s Inekon Group through a negotiated bid.
“The decision to bid the project out resulted in almost P3.5 billion in savings, without sacrificing the quality of the train coaches. Those savings can now be used in other programs, which will also improve public services. This is in accordance with our push for reforms and good governance at the DOTC,” Abaya said.
He added that Inekon had been blacklisted.
The Czech firm, Abaya said, was invited to participate in the bidding process but it declined despite the fact that it had purchased bid documents.
Czech Ambassador to Manila Josef Rychtar has charged that certain individuals demanded a $30-million payoff as a precondition for the award. Rychtar said the government then made sure that Inekon would not get the contract after he declined to go along with scheme.
But Abaya dismissed the allegation, pointing out that the accusation was made only after it became clear that the DOTC would proceed with the open bidding.
The winning bidder, Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., offered to supply 48 coaches for $1.8 million each, or a total of $86.4 million. Inekon’s price was $3.355 million for each coach, or a total of $174.46 million for 52 coaches. That is equivalent to $160.8 million for 48 coaches.
The difference is $74.4 million, or P3.348 billion at the conversion rate of P45 to the dollar.
“That is how much the government saved, or would have lost, had the contract been awarded to Inekon without opening the project to other bidders,” Abaya said.
The DOTC project would have increased the number of trips per hour of MRT 3 to 24 from 20, which will translate to a 60-percent increase in the number of passengers transported per hour in one direction.
“This means that, from the current 23,640 people who can avail of the rail service every hour heading toward one direction, the project will make it possible for 37,824 passengers to enjoy this convenience,” the DOTC explained.
But Michael Arthur Sagcal, DOTC spokesman, said deploying the new trains cannot be done overnight.
“The project will take two to three years to complete because the LRVs [light rail vehicles]will still be manufactured,” he said.
At present, the rail line’s average daily ridership is over 560,000, and its highest single-day passenger count was 620,000.